My mother is a complete extrovert. She likes to have fun, go out for dinner and is into the whole entertainment thing.
My Dad is exactly the opposite. I remember my father as a very angry person. M childhood association with him is one of violence. I grew up being afraid of him. .. images that are implanted in my mind…. At the dinner table my father throwing a plate…because he didn’t like the food…..his slapping me for not doing well. I grew up in what we call the very typical dysfunctional family.
One of the consequences …and I am not even sure why because I still struggle to find the reasons for it.. is that my sisters and me were never close. This despite the fact that there was a mere one year difference between all of us. For some reason we never bonded. I just don’t know what it is to bond with my siblings. … So it’s like all of us growing up in the same house, the same room, play together…and yet knowing so little or not at all about each other.
A part of my memories… a part of my mind...is just so blank when it comes to recollecting anything. I often wonder why. I wonder whether its normal, even as I have no idea what normal is.
My mother felt that she was deceived in her marriage because they were certain things about my father that were hidden from her .My mother didn’t know that my father had a disability. She is an absolutely gorgeous, stunning woman. Though my mom and me have never spoken about it.. I could sense that she felt betrayal, cheated. I guess she is very angry with my father and grandmother. So even before I was born the foundations were dysfunctional, for betrayal, for deception already set.
I was the third child in the family that already had two daughters. I was conceived because my parents were told I would be a boy. This I got to know when I was around nine years old from my grandmother. She said that on the day I was born there were condolence messages being sent to my parents. …My family is a great one for disguises and wearing masks. On the face of it, it is picture perfect… a very lovely mother…three wonderful attractive daughters. But what lies underneath is such a different story altogether.
I remember my abuse in hurried fleeting snatches/images. Barely two or three in number. This was a servant. One of the images is him lying on top of me. The other one is of him looking at me intently in narrow gully outside my house calling my name. I remember running away in fear. The third is after he had quit. This was at a club where we used to go to and he had started working there. He called out my name, he spotted me…. I turned back and I ran. I was so scared. I thought that he had this power over me and he would tell the world how bad I had been. This fear , this deep sense of shame followed me all through my adult life. It was so deep rooted and had embedded itself in my being that I believed until very recently that my abuser would appear suddenly and tell my husband about it and that my husband would leave me. I understand now that this was one of the consequences of my abuse.
I suspect that it may have happened to my sister. Atleast the elder one. Because one day my elder sister told my mother that the servant touched us in a funny strange manner. I remember all three of us nodding in agreement. My mother turned around and looked at me and said, "She must have enjoyed it". To this day it still hurts. I still ask the question why did she do this.
In a family of disguises and secrets where wearing a mask was more important than bonding and sharing…there was absolutely no room for anyone of us to tell anyone about our abuse. Secrets always had the power in my family.
My mother was not a very nurturing person. This task was best left to the maids. Each one of us had a different maid. Sometimes these maids were abusive to my sisters.(IMPACT)
Growing up I never trusted a man. I thought I would be used and hurt. I was never completely open and vulnerable to a man. Consequently, I never reached that level of intimacy in a man woman relationship.
I grew up believing that sex was bad. Wanting sex is a sin. It makes me a bad person. Enjoying it is bad. As a result my sexuality just did not flower or develop.
I could not develop any intimate relationships or any close friends. I was always a loner and a very private person. But the world around me perceive me as an extrovert, a happy go lucky person. That was my mask. It is only now after a few years of therapy…that I am slowly beginning to allow myself to be vulnerable…to take the risk.
I was an over-achiever all through my life. If I had to do anything then I had to be the best .Second best or anything lower did not make me feel good. So was the school captain, the scholarship holder, silver medallist in my MBA. I missed the gold because I got married and went on my honeymoon. You name it and I have been there… school choir, gymnast, dances, plays…was always the star of my function. Etc etc etc.
I was bed wetting till the age of 12.There was an intense shame around it. I could not spend the night over at a friends house. Whenever I travelled I had to carry a mactinosh. Cousins younger than me wouldn’t need to do this. And then knowing about it would only add to my shame.
Anything that ties me down I cannot have it. I had a low sense of self. I was achieving all the time but a sense of achievement was never there. So there could be applause, standing ovations but the emptiness was always there. Receiving prizes but such a total disconnect on the inside. All I did was just go through all the motions of handshakes, smiles and that was all there was to it. So this in essence was my life, a life of disguises, a life of disconnect…pretending to be something I was not…blocked to any form of intimacy or close connections.
In my relationship with my husband I was jealous, possessive, crazily insecure. My mind would make up all kinds of scenarios on its’ own. I couldn’t take the fact that he had woman friends. I was getting tired of being this way. It was as if this jealousy, this possessiveness had taken on a life form of its own. I was going crazy and I was driving my husband crazy. I broke down and told my husband about my sexual abuse, about my fears. He was very sensitive to it and he suggested that I go into therapy. He located a therapist for me and that’s how I started my journey.
When I first came into therapy I had no idea about the impact the abuse had on me, on my ability to relate to people and all the issues that I had faced. Therapy helped me join the dots. Every session I came to, my issues around me got highlighted. I would often think damn… I can’t believe that all of this is a result of my abuse.
Let me tell you that the road to recovery will be bumpy. You will question, you will ask why, how come, why me, you will feel oh my god what do I do now and you will feel sorry for yourself .But you also know your blocks and will also work though every small block, understand it and know a sense of achievement as you remove it. Recovery is all about the simple things. Like for instance…I would take this very personally …if a shopkeeper said that he wouldn’t do this for me I would cry…it would hurt. But this block got cleared I realised that I was taking things very personally.
I understand where my jealousy was coming from. It had a lot to do with my low sense of self and insecurity. I recognised the emptiness inside and I worked hard at doing things that would mean something to me. I worked hard at moving my relationship from a co-dependent to being more Inter dependent. I learnt to look after myself…to care for myself and that is how my sense of self developed.
Let me tell you it’s all worth it. Today I have such a strong sense of self. I have formed meaningful relationships. I feel connected to the universe. I no longer look at a ‘no’ as a rejection of me and yes it’s alright for my husband to talk and flirt with other woman